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2.3. Running RPM Commands

The primary RPM command is simply rpm. One of the original goals of the RPM system is providing ease of use. In support of this goal, just about everything you want to do with the RPM system can be done with this one command. For most usage, the command-line parameters to the rpm command determine the actions it should take.

2.3.1. Working with the rpm command

The rpm command performs the most common package-management functions, along with a host of uncommon functions as well. The table below lists the main operations you can perform with the rpm command and the command-line options to specify the given operations.
Table 2.1. The main rpm operations
Operation Short Option Long Option
Upgrade/install -U --upgrade
Install -I --install
Remove -e --erase
Query -q --query
Verify -V --verify
Check signature -K --checksig
Freshen (upgrade) already-installed package -F --freshen
Initialize database None --initdb
Rebuild database None --rebuilddb

Using this table as a guide, you can explore the options to the rpm command. To install or upgrade a package, use the -U command-line option:
rpm -U filename.rpm
For example, to install the mlocate RPM used as an example in this chapter, run the following command:
rpm -U mlocate-0.22.2-2.i686.rpm
To get extra feedback, you can use a command like the following, with the -h and -v options in conjunction with the –U option:
rpm -Uhv mlocate-0.22.2-2.i686.rpm
When you run this command you will see more output than the default, which is no output unless there are errors. With the –h option, the rpm command will print a series of hash marks, #, to provide feedback that the command is still running. With the –v option, the rpm command provides more verbose messages.

Installing a Package

The most common command to install a package is:
rpm -Uhv package_file.rpm
This command upgrades a package with extra output. If the package has not been installed, this command installs the package. See Chapter 3, Using RPM for more on upgrading and installing.
To remove a package (called erase in RPM terminology), use the –e command-line option:
rpm –e package_name

Using File Extensions

Notice that you install a package file using the file name that ends in .rpm, but uninstall or erase a package without the .rpm extension. This is because you install RPM files, but once installed, you work with the installed packages. The file name and the package name do not have to correspond, but typically (and sanely) they have the same base name.
To list every RPM package installed on your system, use a command like the following.
rpm –qa
Expect to wait while this command completes. Most Linux systems have numerous packages installed, which will result in many lines of output. To better see the output, you can pipe this command to the more command, as shown following:
rpm –qa | more
You will then see the package listing one screen at a time.

rpm Options

Chapter 21, RPM Command Reference lists all the options for the rpm command.